Massachusetts Divorce Residency Requirements

In order to file your Complaint for Divorce in Massachusetts, you must make sure the Probate and Family Court has jurisdiction over your case. The most common way spouses are eligible to use a specific court system is by meeting the residency requirements. Meeting the Massachusetts residency requirements is typically only a concern for a spouse who has recently moved or is planning to move in the near future. The filing requirements are as follows:

One of the spouses must be a resident of the state of Massachusetts if the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state of Massachusetts then one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 1 year.

Actions for divorce shall be filed, heard and determined in the probate court, held for the county where one of the parties lives, except that if either party still resides in the county where the parties last lived together, the action shall be heard and determined in a court for that county. In the event of hardship or inconvenience to either party, the court having jurisdiction may transfer such action for hearing to a court in a county in which such party resides.

The divorce is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse lives. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 4,5 & 6)

Since divorce is governed by state law, it is required that you meet specific residency requirements in order to file for a divorce in the state of Massachusetts. It is most common that people file for a divorce in the county in which they live. You can also read more about the Massachusetts residency requirements in the Massachusetts state statutes located at: If you are unsure of whether or not you meet the Massachusetts residency requirements you can try contacting the Clerk’s office of the domestic relations or family law division of your county courthouse.